2021 saw 30-year-old Spencer Elden, who appeared on the cover as an infant, file suit against the band, the estate of their late singer Kurt Cobain, UMG Recordings, Inc., photographer Kirk Weddle and more, claiming the cover art constituted child pornography/child sexual exploitation.
On December 22nd, the revised defendants for the suit, including UMG Recordings, Inc., Nirvana L.L.C., Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love (as executor of the Estate of Kurt Cobain), Nirvana members Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and the album’s photographer Kirk Weddle, filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed.
Elden [pictured above] had claimed in the suit that he had suffered lifelong damages from the shoot and his image being used on the cover. He made claims that his parents at the time had negotiated a deal that would see his exposed genitalia on the album cover be obscured with a sticker, though that never happened. He had further claimed that neither he nor his guardians authorized the usage of the image and was seeking a minimum of $150,000 per defendant.
As part of their aforementioned motion for dismissal filed last month, the defendants mentioned above jointly stated in part:
“The baby in the photograph is now a thirty-year-old man, the plaintiff, Spencer Elden. Elden has spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed “Nirvana Baby.” He has re-enacted the photograph in exchange for a fee, many times; he has the album title “Nevermind” tattooed across his chest; he has appeared on a talk show wearing a self-parodying, nude-colored onesie; he has autographed copies of the album cover for sale on eBay; and he has used the connection to try to pick up women.”
On Monday [January 3rd], Judge Fernando M. Olguin dismissed the case after Elden and his legal team failed to issue a response to the motion for dismissal within the time limit of the December 30th, 2021 deadline. Elden will however be able to file a second amended complaint in the matter before January 13th to potentially see the case proceed. If he fails to, his case will be dismissed without prejudice.